Thursday, May 14, 2015

Methods to the Madness

In my UROP at the Weng Lab at the Whitehead Institute, I will start to write a paper soon and 20.109 has immensely helped with being prepared for this. My PI often says, “Start with the methods section, it’s the easiest part!” and I do think this is true, but only with experience. Writing the methods section from scratch has actually proved to be a much more involved task than I initially thought. Even though it a factual procedure, synthesizing it from our protocols and making sure to have precise diction and all the necessary components, but without extraneous specifics, took quite a lot of practice.

I think the revisions helped a lot, but I also think it would have been helpful to go through more example methods sections before we began to see the expectations (although it is easy to look them up ourselves). It was really good practice; in writing the methods section, I was able to really understand not only what we did, but why (sequentially and conceptually). During lab, it can often be fast-paced, and even though we have the pre-labs, it’s easy to forget the specifics of the protocol and reasoning when looking back to write it up. Although sometimes lab felt like a frenzy of moving around small liquids, it turns out there were methods to the madness.

But does it work for as a methods section? Unfortunately not…

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